Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Meet My Latest Gardening Scourge

A week ago, I noticed some fuzzy white spots on our mulberry plant. Worrying that they may be mold, I quickly google-imaged (you know what I mean) "fuzzy white spots on mulberry plant" and discovered that I was dealing with mealybugs.

They're bad news. They're like little plant vampires, and an infestation could mean death. I think the ants lured them over. They supposedly like the honeydew produced by the mealybugs.

Good thing I caught them early, so there were just a few in a couple of spots. I have to tell you though, finally registering those white spots in their bug form kind of gave me the heebie jeebies. I just wasn't expecting them to be creepy crawlies.

The most popular recommendation to get rid of the things was to get Qtips, soak the ends in alcohol and then use those to scrape the bugs off the plant. I tried that and, while effective on the bugs that were fully exposed, the method was a bit more difficult to employ with those squeezed in the nook between the spurs and the stem. I had to try the second least invasive method, which was to spray with a homemade solution of water, alcohol, and dish-washing liquid.

The second attempt effectively dealt with those mealybugs. I did it twice and that did the trick. I'm not sure how long they'll remain discouraged, so I'll be as vigilant as I can. I'm resolute about getting berries from that plant, so I'm quite prepared for combat against plant pests and disease. :D

So far, I've had to deal with slugs, caterpillars, ants, mealybugs, and birds. I let the slugs and caterpillars win, co-exist with the ants, put up stakes against the birds, and sprayed the mealybugs. Adventures in the garden, eh?

What pests have been the bane of your gardener's existence? 

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